"Be the Change You Wish to See in the World" -Ghandi
The information on this page is primarily for those who are already serving as volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering, please visit the Volunteer Opportunties page. Below, you will find a collection of helpful tips, instructions and procedures to make your experience volunteering with Meals on Wheels of Durham safe, productive and rewarding.
Pick Up and Delivery Procedures
Meals should be picked up at the Meals on Wheels office by 10:00 am. Volunteers may work alone or in pairs, depending on individual preference.
- Please sign the Volunteer Sign-in Sheet upon arrival. Pick up the folder that contains the information for the route you will be delivering that day. The folder contains the names of clients on your route, as well as their addresses and directions to their homes. City maps are available by request in addition to the written directions. Note: Changes occur daily on each route, so please look over the list of stops for the day. The directions may contain names that are not on the route sheet. Deliver only to clients listed on the route sheet.
- If you have downloaded the MOW Mobile Driver App for your iPhone or smartphone, login to update your deliveries for the day.
- Each meal consists of two components, a hot entree and a cold portion. Hot and cold components are packed in separate containers. Please take only the hot and cold containers that are marked for your route.
- If you bring your own bags, please make sure they are clean. They need to be thermal bags, and you will need a hot gel pack as well as a frozen blue ice pack.
- Before leaving to deliver your meals, please make sure that the containers you have taken each contain the correct number of hot entrees and cold portions. This will prevent a return trip to the Meals on Wheels office and subsequent late delivery of meals. Notify staff if you have too many (or not enough) meals for your route.
- While delivering meals, each vehicle making deliveries should display a "Meals on Wheels Volunteer" sign in the window. If the sign is not in your route folder, please take one from the sign-in table. Also, volunteers should wear a name tag, one of which is provided in your route folder. If you need another name tag, additional ones are hanging on the wall near the sign-in table.
- Once you reach the destination of your first delivery, please note the time of the delivery on the route sheet.
- Upon completion of your delivery route, please note the time the last delivery was made and sign the route sheet. Please return the bags and folder to the Meals on Wheels office. If you will not be returning to the office, please call the Meals on Wheels office to report your start and ending times and if there were any clients who were not at home on your route.
- Client not at home - If a client does not answer the door, please try calling the phone number listed for him/her on the route sheet. Also, please note on the route sheet if there are special instructions about where to leave the client's meal in case he/she is not at home. If you still can't locate the client or there are no instructions on who to leave the meal with, do not leave the meal. Instead, place a "We Missed You" tag on the door. Immediately notify the Meals on Wheels office if a client does not answer the door. Meals on Wheels staff will follow up on the client's safety and whereabouts. The client's phone number is also listed on the route sheet
- Medical emergencies - If you should ever arrive to find a client in immediate need of medical attention, please call 911! Do not attempt to move the client or perform any medical procedures yourself. Stay with the client until help arrives, then call the Meals on Wheels office to report the incident.
- Contributions - Sometimes clients may wish to make a contribution to the Meals on Wheels program by sending it along with a volunteer. If you receive a contribution from a client, please return it to the office and give it to a member of our staff.
- Volunteer safety - If you encounter an unsafe situation on the route you are delivering, do not deliver the meal. You are to use your discretion and judgment to determine for yourself if you feel unsafe. Please notify the Community Outreach Director and the Director if such a situation occurs.
- Absences - Meals on Wheels realizes that unexpected events may arise which prevent you from delivering a route on your assigned day. If you will not be able to deliver meals on your assigned day please notify the Community Outreach Director as soon as possible.
- If you notice anything unusual on the route or a change in the condition of a client - Also, please inform the Meals on Wheels office of anything unusual on the route such as incorrect directions or if you have observed a change in the condition of the client. Meals on Wheels always follows up on these reports.
- If you are unsure about how to handle a situation - If at any time during your service with the Meals on Wheels program a situation arises where you are unsure of the appropriate course of action, please call the Meals on Wheels office at 919-667-9424.
Volunteers must be aware of the confidential nature of client information, which must be observed for the protection of the client, the volunteer, and the Meals on Wheels program. Do not reveal clients' names or personal matters to anyone other than Meals on Wheels staff members.
Inclement Weather Procedures
- Meals are not delivered when road conditions make it dangerous for volunteers to drive safely.
- Both clients and volunteers should tune to WRAL by 7:00 am for cancellation notification. Additionally, a closure message will be placed on the Meals on Wheels answering machine.
- If you are uncertain about whether the Meals on Wheels office will be open, please phone the office at 919-667-9424 to confirm cancellation prior to venturing out into unsafe driving conditions.
- Address each client using his/her name.
- Show genuine interest in each client, and be a good listener.
- Speak clearly and audibly, as many clients are hard of hearing.
- Be optimistic and confident.
- Do not direct the conversation towards a client's illness or disability.
- Do not give your home telephone number to clients, and refrain from using your own money to meet a client's needs.